Father Knows Best – Finally, Reasonable Parents Reject “The Bachelor”

 

(Spoiler Alert: If you’ve not watched this week’s episode of The Bachelor on your DVR, you might want to skip this article.)

I’m the mother of a young teenager who’s not dating yet, so I can only imagine a nervous young man asking her father for her hand in marriage. Many argue that the whole idea is chauvinistic and reminiscent to times when women were treated like objects. Most people, however, still think it’s a respectful gesture, an important tradition, a rite of passage, and a moment that dear old dad can really let his expectations be known.

Even on The Bachelor, a show not known for its traditional views on morality, the bachelor winnows down the crowd until there are only four remaining contenders.  That’s when things on the show get really serious, emotional, and – sometimes – complicated. This week on the show, Bachelor Ben Flajnik traveled all around the nation to visit the remaining four contestants’ families in what are known as “hometown dates.”

With each woman, he explores her hometown before sitting down at the table with her family.  There are polite questions, there are awkward pauses.  This allows the bachelor to get a feel for his potential future family and it allows the family to get a feel for the potential future son-in-law.

Normally, the conversations go something like this:

Dad: “You better treat my daughter right. She’s very precious to me.”

Bachelor: “I understand.   Thanks for letting me know.  I have begun to really like her.

Dad: “Why?”

Bachelor: “You know… Because she makes me feel good.”

Dad: “Well, she seems happy and that’s good enough for me.  You have my blessing.”

I’m always shocked  parents are so eager to approve of this complete stranger their daughter met on a reality television show.  Sometimes, parents give their blessing right off, usually with some kind of inane comment like “Well, marriage is a 50/50 gamble, so you just have to have the courage to take a risk.”

Sometimes, these parental interactions seal the deal, as the Bachelor envisions himself as a part of the family.  Sometimes, not so much.  For example, this week, one set of parents finally demonstrate they are less enamored with the set-up than their daughter.

Kacie Boguskie has been my favorite of the season.  She is kind, generous, and considerate in a show that encourages drama.  When she had her hometown date, she took Ben to her (and my!) home state of Tennessee.  While sitting in the stands of her old high school, she told him that her father is a federal probation officer and doesn’t drink. Ben, who is a long haired winemaker from California, is unnerved by this news:

“You’re in the Bible belt now,” she explained.

“I’ve always considered it the bourbon belt,” he laughed.

“Well that’s great,” he said in an off camera interview.  “I’m a winemaker and my business is booze. So strike one.”

When they arrived at Kacie’s home, the dinner table was nicely set up with crystal goblets holding ice tea.  Soon, however, everyone was breaking out into different rooms for personal conversations.

“Marriage is something that’s very, very, very serious,” Kacie’s father Denny told the bachelor. “Don’t rush into anything.”

Off camera, the bachelor senses the disapproval, and says, “I had a great conversation with Kacie’s father, but I don’t get the feeling he likes me.”

When Ben talked to Kacie’s mother, the conversation was even more direct.  She said she’s watched enough of the show to know the “winners” of the show end up living together prior to marriage.

“I have a serious problem with that,” she told him.

Upon hearing this, he looked absolutely flabbergasted.  He did manage to collect himself enough to mumble assurance that he shared their “traditional values.” Later in the episode, however, as he recounts the date to host Chris Harrison, he says he fully expects to co-habitate with his fiancé.  (He says this with the exasperation of a person having to explain why water is wet.)

In other words, Kacie and Ben don’t seem to share the same worldview.  In her pre-show interview, she answered some questions about what characteristics  she hoped to find in her future husband.  She answered, that she hoped he would be “outgoing, fun-loving, athletic, driven, goal oriented, sensitive but strong, not afraid to try new things, Christian, family oriented, and love children.”

But she didn’t seem to realize the ideological chasm that existed between her and Ben.  That’s when she sat down with her father outside during the hometown date, and he gently tries to talk sense into his daughter.  He asks her to prayerfully consider what she’s doing.  She assures him that she has prayed and has fully considered her actions.  He very pointedly asks her if she would move in with Ben if they became engaged, and she assures him she would never do that.

Kacie becomes increasingly upset that dear old dad is not impressed with her choice of men and that he doesn’t trust in her intuitions.

“I’m falling in love with him,” she tells him.

“But aren’t the other three girls as well?”

Silenced by the question, she says she doesn’t know.  But she knows.  She’s seen Ben take all of the other girls on dates, kiss in the pool, and exchange meaningful glances for weeks.  She knows that her dad is onto the truth, though she continues to plead her case.

“Ben and I have something that nobody else does, and you might think that’s naive,” she told him. “But I would say ‘yes’ if he were to ask me to marry me.”

Her father seemed pained as he gently responded, “Okay, if he was to ask me if he could marry you, I would probably say at this point, ‘No.’”

I’ve not watched every season of The Bachelor, but this may have been a first.  Even more impressive is when Kacie’s father – who senses the emotional calamity about to be wreaked upon his beautiful daughter – takes Ben aside and asks a favor.  If Ben knows he’s to end up with a different women, please end it soon to avoid more emotional damage.

And that’s exactly what happened.

At the end of the episode, Kacie is weeping in the limousine of shame, asking, “What happened?”

But the audience knows why she didn’t get the rose.

Kacie’s teetotalling, praying father scared the heck out of the Bachelor.  And even though she was devastated by the rejection, the viewers know that – especially in this case — father knows best.

Conservative Christian Parents Refuse to Give Blessing to the “Bachelor”

Fans of The Bachelor know how easily  parents of the love-stricken girls give their marital blessing to a complete stranger on the famous “hometown dates.”

Not Kacie Boguskie’s parents.  In what might be a first, her conservative Christian parents met her potential husband…  and said no.  Read how they handled the awkward meal they shared with “the bachelor” in their Tennessee home in this article called “Father Knows Best.”

Rick Santorum’s Pro-Choice Past

On Tuesday morning, Rick Santorum’s spokesman Hogan Gidley was interviewed by MSNBC.  He said something that we’ve all gotten quite used to on the campaign trail – yet another slam against Gov. Romney for becoming pro-life.  In extolling his own candidate, he said:

“I mean, that’s who he is,” Gidley said. “He doesn’t have to tack to the right on social issues like Mitt Romney because he actually firmly believes those things.”

However, this morning, I came across this interesting Huffington Post article which shows that Santorum apparently was pro-choice until he ran for public office:

In a December 1995 Philadelphia Magazine article — which the Huffington Post pulled from Temple University archives — Santorum conceded that he “was basically pro-choice all my life, until I ran for Congress… But it had never been something I thought about.” Asked why he changed his mind, he said that he “sat down and read the literature. Scientific literature,” only to correct himself and note that religion was a part of it too.

So why does this matter?  Aren’t we glad when people change their minds?  Of course!  We have maintained for years that pro-lifers should be thrilled when we win converts from the pro-abortion mindset.  Is that why we’re having conversations across the country?  To convince people to change?  So why, when people do actually change their minds, do we wag our finger at them and say, “Well, that took you long enough.”

In other words, Santorum’s pride and arrogance towards Gov. Romney – a man much more qualified to run this country – is unjustified and offensive. You didn’t see this contempt towards Fred Thompson (who ran as a pro-choice candidate in 1994 in Tennessee) and you didn’t even see it towards Rick Perry (who endorsed the ONLY pro-choice candidate in 2008).

Gov. Romney had a pro-life conversion as did a lot of candidates – including Sen. Santorum. Let’s retire the condescension and be thankful that our message of life is resonating.

See also: Santorum is Running for Pastor-in-Chief

Rick Santorum: Running for President, Pastor, or Both?

For years — when questioned about Mitt Romney’s faith — Nancy and I have responded with some version of the following: “He’s running for commander-in-chief, not pastor-in-chief, and his core political values are your core political values.”

What we meant was clear.  Mitt wasn’t going to be spending time as president discussing Joseph Smith or any unique point of Mormon doctrine.  Instead, he was going to concentrate on shared values — supporting life, marriage, and religious liberty, for example — and focus on fixing our economy and defending our country.  These shared values stretch across religious lines and unite more than they divide.  Baptists and Catholics and Mormons may not agree on a number of theological fronts, but they are united in supporting life, supporting marriage, and preserving religious liberty.

Rick Santorum is testing the limits of this formula.  Yes, he shares the same broad political values as Mitt Romney and the other Republican candidates — and no one questions his pro-life credentials — but he’s now doing something that I’m not sure I’ve seen from a mainstream Republican candidate: He’s going beyond the shared values of the Republican coalition to making narrow denominational arguments on hot-button social issues.

Let’s take contraception.  All of the GOP candidates agree that Obama’s HHS mandate, which requires Christian institutions to make free contraceptives (and abortifacients) available to their employees, represents a grotesque violation of religious liberty, but only Rick Santorum says this:

One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

There’s a lot I agree with in that statement, but there’s a lot that I disagree with as well.  I don’t agree with the Catholic church on the theology of contraception.  I respect the Catholic view, but I don’t agree.  And I certainly don’t want my president wasting his limited political capital picking a theological fight on this issue.

And that’s not all, of course.  He’s talked about the “phony theology” of Barack Obama’s environmentalism, and he’s singled out certain kinds of pre-natal testing as especially offensive.  He’s also essentially written mainline denominations out of the Christian faith.

To be clear, there are ways of contesting radical environmentalism — including the more fanatical elements which (as Senator Santorum rightly noted) value the environment more than people — without making the kinds of arguments I’ve heard from the pulpit.  And you can certainly oppose mandates on free-market and liberty grounds without singling out amniocentesis for particular scorn.  As for the spiritual plight of mainline denominations . . . well, I’m just not sure that’s a matter of presidential concern.  (Nor are such sweeping statements helpful or accurate).

I like Rick Santorum.  He’s been a congressional hero of the pro-life movement, and he’s articulating the connection between the breakdown of the family and persistent economic distress better than anyone else in the race.  He was sounding the alarm on Iran years ago — when no one wanted to hear him.  But he’s on the verge of moving from the good Rick Santorum who won two senate elections as a conservative in a moderate state to bad Rick Santorum whose appeal became increasingly denominational and alienated potential allies.  Bad Rick Santorum seemed almost indifferent to winning over moderates, independents, libertarians, and even social conservatives who didn’t agree with everything he said.  Bad Rick Santorum lost in a landslide in 2006.

A presidential candidate simply cannot win a race (and likely can’t even win an extended primary contest) making in essence pastoral, denominational arguments when more ecumenical values and liberty-based arguments accomplish much the same purpose.

See also Rick Santorum’s Pro-Choice Past

My New Ruger LC9

I bought a new gun last week, and apparently I’m not the only one!

Read “How Women and Girls are Taking Up Guns.”

Santorum the Stingy?

When Rick Santorum released his income taxes, one thing became clear.

He gave only 2.2% of the more than $3.6 million in total income he earned since leaving the Senate.  Mark DeMoss is incredulous:

At best it shows political bad judgment and at worst it shows a lack of personal commitment to a principle that religious conservatives and political conservatives believe in, which is being generous with our money.”

“And so I just think it’s a mistake. And look, Santorum and (Newt) Gingrich, these two candidates, they’re not the first to appear on the low end of this spectrum. Every four years we see it. And im always surprised. I am always surprised that someone running for president or who actually becomes president doesn’t have a record of a higher percentage of giving.”

DeMoss stressed that he’s not brought up the topic of Santorum and Gingrich’s charitable giving with Romney headquarters. In his own life, DeMoss said he gives away 20 percent of his family income to charitable causes.

“This is just something I feel strongly about myself,” he said. “We’ve been blessed. I’ve been very fortunate in my life. And I’m not running for anything. But if I were running I’d make sure that number stayed up there because I think it looks good.”

For comparison,

Santorum gave just over 2 percent of his income to charity over the four years covered in the returns he released, reaching its lowest percentage in 2010 at 1.76 percent. For the same year, Romney gave 13.8 percent of his income to charity, and President Obama donated 14.2 percent. (Newt Gingrich, for comparison, gave away 2.6 percent)

The Only “Real Marriage” Review You’ll Ever Need to Read

I know I’m coming late to the Real Marriage party, but I finally finished the book (don’t blame me for being slow! I also had some sic-fi and apocalyptic fiction to read, and zombies always trump marriage books).  Before I deliver my verdict — if you care to read it — let me begin with three disclosures:

First, not only have I never read a marriage book in my life, Nancy and I did not attend pre-marital counseling, we’ve never been to marriage counseling since marriage, and we’ve never even attended a marriage seminar or marriage class.  I’m violently allergic to psychobabble — especially the emasculating psychobabble that so often passes for “wisdom” in church circles — and that’s exactly how I perceive the vast majority of evangelical marriage advice.  (While I don’t read the books or go to the counseling, I do hear about it incessantly from friends who do read and who do get counseled.  Often it seems to do far more harm than good).

Second, my resistance to marriage books and marriage counseling doesn’t mean that I think I’m some sort of model husband.  My failings, however, aren’t so much conceptual as practical.  In other words, I know what I should do and how I should act, but I just don’t do it.  In other words, my failings aren’t “mistakes,” they’re sins.

Third, I like Mark Driscoll.  I don’t claim to be a student of his work or even to listen to him that much, but I like his Reformed outlook, and I very much like that he unashamedly fights back against the feminization of the church.  When he talks about being alienated from the church because so many of the Christian men he encountered weren’t all that masculine, I completely get what he’s saying.  Sometimes he can be crude and imprecise in the way he talks about this problem, but frankly too many men are way too sensitive.  Yes, Mark Driscoll has said some crude things about masculinity.  Man up and get over it.

Okay, with that as a background, what about the book — a bestseller that is incredibly real and incredibly raw — was it good?  Will it be valuable for married Christians?

Yes.  Absolutely.  But let’s be clear about one thing: This book has a target audience, and it’s not a middle-aged married couple dealing with a looming empty nest or retirees who — after 40 years of marriage — just can’t stand each other any more, nor is the target audience pastors.  This is a book written for the younger evangelical generation, a generation living in the shadow of the sexual revolution.  Millions of these kids are children of divorce, eighty percent are sexually active before marriage, their theological training is suspect, at best, and they’ve too often bought entirely secular ideas regarding marriage, family, and fulfillment.

In other words, young evangelicals are often bringing an entire trunk full of baggage into their marriages — just like Mark and Grace Driscoll did.  The Driscolls meet this audience exactly where they are.

Real Marriage first gives them hope, but it gives hope in the right way — not by creating unrealistic expectations of incredible supernatural triumph over guilt and shame but instead by letting couples know that it is normal and expected that past sins will cause present problems.  Don’t panic.  Seek God and work through it day by day.  You are not failing in your marriage if it takes literally years to get through and past sin and shame.

The book also points couples to God for fulfillment, not each other.  This may seem like an obvious and elementary point, but again young readers are likely infected with the idea their spouse is their main source of happiness.  ”You complete me” is a common refrain from people who are young and in love.  Yet we have a hole in our heart that no human being can fill, and if we think our spouse can or should fill it, then we’re dooming ourselves to a lifetime of disappointment and anger — even if married to the best spouse in town.

I remember talking to a friend of mine who’s wife left him after many years of marriage (and four children).  ”She just wasn’t happy,” he said.  ”And nothing I could do would make her happy.”

We don’t live to make our spouses happy.  In fact, the very quest rests on not one, but two, faulty assumptions.  First, we can’t make people happy.  That’s not in our power.  Second, one of the key reasons why that’s not in our power is that our spouses often don’t even know what will make them happy.  They don’t know what they want.  Try and fail, and you earn their contempt.  Don’t try at all, and you receive their anger.

Real Marriage respects biblical roles for men and women.  The concept of male headship may not appeal to our culture, but it is, after all, God’s model for marriage.  We can try to dance around it, soft-pedal it, and even deny it — but there it is.  Still in the Bible.  Of course Mark and Grace Driscoll provide all the proper caveats that leadership is not license for domination and properly point to Christ as the model, but they don’t shy from the core truth.  It’s a truth that people may not think will make them happy, but biblical models are rarely the models we’d fashion for ourselves.

Finally, the book does really get into the very raw details of sexuality — complete with a chapter that lists sex acts and discusses whether they’re permissible for married Christians.  It feels a bit gimmicky to me, and I don’t agree with all of it (a couple times I thought, “Did he just say that was okay?”), but if they say they get frequent questions along those lines, I believe them.  That’s where the book bogged down for me, but not for everyone (judging from other reviews).

The book places great emphasis on married friendship (rather than marital romance), and I think — on balance — that’s a good thing.  I’ve heard more than a few sermons about men continuing to “woo” their wives, and it all sounds rather exhausting and, frankly, sappy.  The bottom line message of this book, however, isn’t on trying various techniques to improve your marriage but on understanding that our fallen and broken nature will continue to manifest itself, and this reality demands that we not only show grace but also that we temper expectations and look to Christ for our fulfillment.

Had this book existed 16 years ago, and if I had ears to hear its message (and the courage to apply its lessons), it could have made a real difference in our marriage.  Experience is certainly a more harsh taskmaster than Mark Driscoll.

Fasting for America

As I mentioned recently, some of us at Evangelicals for Mitt have been really caught up in the ups and downs of this Presidential race. We’ve noticed that our attitudes and emotions have been directly tied to polls, successes, and failures of the race.  This meant we were elated over Iowa, happy over New Hampshire, angry after South Carolina, and – then — incredibly disappointed when Iowa went into Santorum’s column.

That’s where we are, in the middle of all this chaos.  I think God is working on our hearts throughout this election and He may be working on yours too.

Psalm 57:7 says, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”

What is it fixed on?  The ever changing polls?  The new Santorum surge?  The most recent Romneycare lie?  Even the future occupant of the Oval Office?

No.  Our hearts should be fixed on God.

Our confession last week was that our hearts were more fixed on, well, The Fix instead of our creator.  And so, after consulting with some of our EFMers, far and wide, we decided to take a reader up on a challenge e-mailed to us a couple of weeks ago.  (Thanks, Terry.)

We’ve decided to begin regular, weekly fasts between now and the election, and we’d like to ask you to join us.

What exactly are we doing and what are we asking you to do?

Fasting is simply abstaining from food for a certain amount of time in order to seek God.  It was a normal, and expected spiritual discipline in both the Old and New Testament time periods. (King David, Moses, and even Jesus fasted.)

This isn’t some sort of spiritual ploy to earn God’s favor.  Nor is it a way to manipulate this election or even create our desired outcome. This is a plea to God for our nation.

When: Every Monday, we will be fasting.  You are welcome to join us – or not.  No pressure.  If you don’t want to do this regularly, please consider joining us in a one-time nation-wide fast on Monday, March 5th – the day before Super Tuesday.

How: Most of us will be fasting from food.  Some of us will also be fasting from Drudge, Fox News, CNN, and even blogging.  You might want to fast from just lunch (or meat, or chocolate, or whatever.  Just do what you’re led to do.)

Who:   Anyone can join us, regardless of party or preferred candidate.

What to Pray: Of course, you can focus on whatever you’d like in your own prayers.  Here are some of the things we might be praying about:

  1. For our current President, that he’d have the moral and political courage to do what is best for the nation.
  2. For our next president, that he’d set high moral and ethical standards of conduct for himself and those associated with him, setting and example for other world leaders to follow.
  3. For our economy.
  4. That judges of high moral character and sharp, legal minds would be added to the Supreme Court.
  5. That the evil of abortion will end.

Starting this list makes me realize how many things could be on this list.  I also want to pray specifically for the Romneys, for fortitude and peace as they go through this election cycle.

I also want to pray for my own heart that I’ll trust in God more than I trust in our government or our leaders.

We started yesterday and will do it until the next President is elected.  Want to join us?  Please consider joining us on Mondays, with a special fast on March 5th.

Going Positive on Mitt and Negative on Newt

I’ve slowed down slightly on posting, but that doesn’t mean I’ve slowed down on writing.  Today in the Washington Post, Jordan Sekulow, Matt Clark, and I make the positive case that conservative Christians and Tea Partiers are moving to Mitt:

Buried in the exit polls from Romney’s more than 15 point win over Newt Gingrich is the fact that Romney won Protestants, Catholics, and virtually tied among evangelicals. Tea Partiers too broke for Romney.

With this, Romney has won the conservative Christian vote in half of the primary contests so far This critical group makes up a plurality of the Republican primary vote in Florida, over 40 percent.

There are several key factors that have led conservative Christians to rally around Romney.  First, Romney stands for the values that evangelicals and social conservatives hold dear.  He is strongly pro-life. In addition to winning an award from a major pro-life organization in Massachusetts as governor after vetoing expanded access to the morning-after pill and expanded fetal stem-cell research, Romney pro-family, pro-life values are now touted by Florida’s pro-life advocates as well as those in other states across the country.

He has been steadfast in his defense of marriage and religious liberty.  After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage by judicial fiat, then-Gov. Romney went so far as to file a lawsuit to force the Massachusetts legislature to act on a citizen-initiated marriage amendment.  His defense of religious liberty earned him the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s coveted “Canterbury Medal,” an award given to leaders in the fight for freedom.

Yesterday on CNN.com, I made a strongly-worded case against Newt:

Many evangelicals are angry, and rightly so. They’re angry with a president who embraces abortion rights, who restricts religious liberty and who saddles their children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt. They understand the necessity of protecting life and the imperative of financial stewardship.

But they also understand that we don’t discard our core values for the sake of political victories. Fidelity, honesty, humility and charity matter.

No one doubts that God forgives, but only God knows Newt Gingrich’s heart.  We only know his actions, and we know that he has a history of deceiving even those who are closest to him.

Three other Republican candidates are anti-abortion. Three other Republican candidates have been faithful and honest in their personal and professional lives. With honest alternatives to choose from, evangelicals will soon abandon Gingrich.

I’ve gotten several messages from people who tell me that I’m too negative on Gingrich. Yet other Republican candidates have not only advanced the right values, they live them as well.  The values that Gingrich has lived have on many occasions been hypocritical and reprehensible, and I’m quite puzzled at the insistence of people who have never met him and will never meet him that he’s unquestionably sincere in his regrets.  You have no way of knowing that and many reasons not to trust him.

I have good friends who support Rick Santorum, and I understand why.  He’s a hero of the pro-life movement, a man with an exemplary personal reputation, and a person who is living the values we hold dear.  I simply don’t think he’s best-equipped to handle the economic crisis we face.  Mitt Romney is also a man with an exemplary personal reputation and is living the values we hold dear.  Why are so many people taking such a massive risk with Newt Gingrich?  Could it be that he channels the anger they feel and that anger is clouding their good judgment?

Mitt Wins Florida!

While driving tonight from our home in Columbia, Tennessee, to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountain National Park, I got so enthralled with the election coverage that I missed our exit and drove fifty miles out of the way.  But nothing could dampen our spirits.  What a great, great night.  Here’s a sample of the best coverage.

Rich Lowry:

Carpetbombing works.

That’s the lesson of Florida, where Mitt Romney overwhelmed Newt Gingrich on the air and in every other aspect of the campaign. He out-organized him, out-messaged him, and out-researched him, if an exchange in the last debate where Romney seemed to know more about Gingrich’s investments than Gingrich himself is any indication.

Gingrich the historian has any number of analogies he can draw on — he was the Persians at Marathon, the French at Agincourt, the Zulus at Rorke’s Drift. In short, he got wiped out.

Jennifer Rubin:

It was a blowout. Mitt Romney won Florida by double digits, taking virtually every economic, ideological and other subset of voters. He carried all but “very conservative” voters and “strongly supports Tea Party” voters. Romney soared past the 45 percent mark, won more than the combined votes for Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and re-established himself as the most favorably-regarded and most-acceptable candidate in a diverse, large state that the GOP much carry in November.

Moreover, he won the contest on the strength of his debate performances (previously a strength for Gingrich) and now has a huge lead in money and organization as the race spreads out across the country.

Jonathan Tobin:

Mitt Romney’s huge win tonight in Florida was sufficiently large that it is not possible to interpret it as anything but a stamp of approval from a broad cross-section of Republican voters in a closed primary. Given that by the last week the primary had become a two-man race, it is also impossible to avoid the conclusion that it was a resounding rejection of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich appears likely to take the sore loser scenario in the coming weeks as he attempts to foul the well for the likely nominee by branding him as not just a relative moderate — which is what Romney actually is — but a liberal. Gingrich may be able to convince his large donors to fund a last ditch and probably futile effort to derail the frontrunner. But he is unlikely to persuade most Republicans they are better off with a crippled nominee simply to vent his personal spleen at Romney for having beaten him at his own game with negative ads.

Let’s not forget, well, me.  On CNN:

Many evangelicals are angry, and rightly so. They’re angry with a president who embraces abortion rights, who restricts religious liberty and who saddles their children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt. They understand the necessity of protecting life and the imperative of financial stewardship.

But they also understand that we don’t discard our core values for the sake of political victories. Fidelity, honesty, humility and charity matter.

No one doubts that God forgives, but only God knows Newt Gingrich’s heart.  We only know his actions, and we know that he has a history of deceiving even those who are closest to him.

Three other Republican candidates are anti-abortion. Three other Republican candidates have been faithful and honest in their personal and professional lives. With honest alternatives to choose from, evangelicals will soon abandon Gingrich.

And one final, critical note.  According to the Washington PostMitt won the evangelical vote!

This was a great night, worth savoring for a few hours.  Then, on to Nevada.